The degrees of the Chapter of Rose Croix (15th through 18th) are very complex. They attempt to invest the candidate with a deeper understanding of religion, philosophy, ethics, and history; a means to purify and strengthen that light and to make it the guiding force in a man’s life.. The intellectual challenges presented in these degrees, is at times overwhelming, and can take years to master. A thorough reading of related chapters in Morals and Dogma and in the Legenda and Readings of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry are essential to achieving greater comprehension of the Chapter Rose Croix.
The symbol of the Chapter Rose Croix (15º-18º) is gold colored and depicts a compass opened to sixty degrees, resting upon a graduated segment. Between the compasses and the arc appears a pelican, in silver, piercing its breast to feed its young, which are in a nest under it and seven in number. Behind the pelican springs a branch of green acacia and above it is a crimson Passion Cross. At the intersection of its arms is a crimson rose in bloom. On the summit of the compasses is an antique crown. On the segment of the arc is the True Word, in the cipher of the degree. The pelican tearing its breast to nourish its young is a symbol of every philanthropist and reformer who has offered up his life for the benefit of humanity, and so teaches us an exhaustless munificence toward all mankind, and especially toward the needy and defenseless. The reverse side of the emblem depicts a silver eagle with its wings spread and head depressed beneath a crimson Passion Cross.
The Degrees of the Chapter of Rose Croix
15° – Knight of the East
This degree teaches that it is not possible to keep people in slavery once they know the value of liberty and can decide for themselves how to defend it. Likewise, it is not possible to defeat Masonry by attacking it; for we are building the Temple of liberty, equality, and fraternity in the souls of men and nations.
16° – Prince of Jerusalem
This degree emphasizes the fact that one must use every means to be beneficial for the society in which one lives. We not only set our own example for our society, but we enlist the aid of our Brothers. Together, Masons are custodians of freedom. Our charge is to leave a noble heritage to those who follow us in this world. We build temples of the Living God in our hearts by following the truths of justice, equity, morality, wisdom, labor, fidelity, and Brotherhood-so that the collective liberties for mankind can be protected.
17° – Knight of the East and West
In this degree, Masonry says only one thing – differences in religions will not matter, and these differences will not hinder people to live together in peace if all people gather sincerely around the belief and concept of the Great Architect of the Universe. It is sufficient only to keep one’s heart pure, to believe in God, and to respect the religious feelings and ideas of others. In this way, people who meet, respect and love one another will not find it difficult to understand that no one is lying, that truth prevails in people’s words and deeds.
18° – Knight Rose Croix
This degree teaches that, in reality, what causes us to be immortal is affection – love. Only if one loves is he conscious that he lives, and that he therefore loves life. As Masons, we should practice virtue that it may produce fruit. We should have faith in God, mankind, and ourselves. And we should be loving men. Masonry teaches that, so long as man is loved, so long as he is remembered with love; he continues living in this way even in his grave. And a brother who conveys this image and this message proves that Hope is never lost.